BOB GARFIELD: Getting an airplane in a movie takes work. So does getting a movie into an airplane. Here's a scene from When Harry Met Sally that you're not likely to see in flight.
BILLY CRYSTAL IN MOVIE: You okay?
MEG RYAN IN MOVIE: Ohhhhhhh. [SIGHS]. Oh, God! Ooooooo! Oh, God! Ohhhhhh. [SIGHS] Ahhhhhhoohh! Ohhhhhhhhh! Ohhhh, goooood. Oh, yeah -right there -- [GASPS] Oh! [GASPS] Ohhhhhh!! Oohhh!!! Ohhhh! Oh, God! Oh! [SCREAMING] Yes! Yes! Yes!
BROOKE GLADSTONE:Okay, okay. Enough of that. Jeff Klein is president of Jaguar Distribution which supplies films suitably edited for in-flight viewing. Mr. Klein, what are airlines eager to see or not to see in the movies they show?
JEFF KLEIN: Well, airline passengers represent such a broad cultural diversity and, and all age groups, and the airlines try to remain sensitive to these differences by minimizing or cutting out scenes of excessive violence for example or scenes of bloodshed, nudity and sex, foul language.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: What about cultural differences? Do you keep in certain scenes for certain routes and take the out for others?
JEFF KLEIN:There are cultural differences. In some Middle Eastern countries, for example, violence is not as problematic as consuming alcohol or, or signs of open affection. I remember one film, I think it was Cocktail, was exhibited by one of the Middle Eastern airlines but the Arab dialogue that was provided made it appear that they were actually drinking juice rather than alcohol.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: I have to assume it's not a modern myth to say airlines don't like to play movies with air crashes in them.
JEFF KLEIN: No, that's - that's not a myth at all. Rain Man-- comes to my mind very quickly.
DUSTIN HOFFMAN IN MOVIE: ...35 [...?...] passengers [...?...]. Yeah.
TOM CRUISE IN MOVIE: All airlines have crashed at one time or another! That doesn't mean that they are not safe!
DUSTIN HOFFMAN IN MOVIE: Quantas.
TOM CRUISE IN MOVIE: Wha-- Quantas?
DUSTIN HOFFMAN IN MOVIE: Quantas never crashed.
JEFF KLEIN: Quantas was the only airline to play that scene complete. [LAUGHTER] Every other carrier who played that movie just cut that scene out like it never existed.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Do you ever worry that you have to cut a film so severely that you damage it?
JEFF KLEIN:No. The primary thing is to keep the integrity of the film intact. In some cases, the - the directors want to get involved for that very reason! Steven Spielberg doesn't like his films edited at all! Saving Private Ryan, I've heard, was played by some airlines but completely un-edited. Woody Allen does cutting. We would have to supply a list of edits to Woody Allen and have him approve them or he would do the actual editing.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Have you had complaints from directors or from airline passengers?
JEFF KLEIN: It seems that regardless of what is played in the airline, somebody will complain about something.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: So then the only real solution is the Virgin Atlantic solution.
JEFF KLEIN:Virgin would be the one to go to -- they -- I don't think they edit very much at all. Their whole fleet is equipped with in-seat video systems, so there's no overhead screen to offend anyone within their captive audience.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: We're joined now by Sarah Evans who is the manager of acquisitions and publishing for Virgin Atlantic Airline. Sarah, welcome to the On the Media.
SARAH EVANS: Hi.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Does Virgin Airlines offer R-rated films un-edited along with a bunch of other fare in those little seatback selectors?
SARAH EVANS: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I mean everything from American Psycho we've played; Fight Club; and we've actually got playing at the moment Requiem for a Dream. We don't shy away from stuff that's controversial, and it's actually really popular.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Does Virgin ever receive complaints about the types of films it shows?
SARAH EVANS:We have had one or two. You do get people who are shocked by the fact that these films are available on board. But we always make a point of responding and explaining why we do what we do -- the fact that we like to give people freedom of choice. We don't really want to censor the films that are available on board, and most people once you explain to them that policy, they seem to understand it.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: What have they objected to?
SARAH EVANS:It's the same as anything on TV or in the cinema. They object to nudity, violence. If we have a film that has a gay theme, that seems to be quite controversial.
BROOKE GLADSTONE:You've mentioned that you had Fight Club available on the seatback selectors. If I remember correctly, Fight Club has a plane crash scene in it, doesn't it?
SARAH EVANS: Yeah, it does. A really nasty one. [LAUGHS] We've been showing them for a while now. I mean it, it started accidentally in that I booked a classic -- Get Shorty -- and I completely forgot about the plane crash in it. I was actually flying and watched it and suddenly saw oh, my God -- we've got a film on board with a plane crash! And nothing happened. No one complained. So we kind of stepped up a little bit and we had Six Days, Seven Nights -- not a word from anyone. [LAUGHTER] So then we just kind of gradually increased the intensity of the crash and we kind of went on to Con Air, Fight Club. We played Mission Impossible II where the opening sequence is a plane crashing into the side of a mountain. We've played Final Destination -- and we've never had a complaint about it.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: And Virgin Atlantic is, is well known as the airline for masochists I guess, huh?
SARAH EVANS:[LAUGHS] Well we do warn people if you're a nervous passenger, don't watch it. I mean I'm a nervous passenger, and I wouldn't want to watch it when I'm on board.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Sarah Evans of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, thank you very much.